If you are single and studying full time for professional exams such as CIMA, you are one of the lucky ones. Most CIMA students are studying while they work. And quite a few have family obligations to deal with, including kids.
But passing your exams is also a priority, especially if you have already started. Putting off studies is never a good idea. You tend to lose momentum and also your motivation if you keep putting things off.
Here are a few tips from successful professionals who managed to find time to study while working. As this is a very vast topic, we've decided to split it into 2 parts. Next part coming up on next Monday!
1. Know yourself.
Knowing your best learning styles, what times you study best, for how long you can effectively study at a stretch are all important. To effectively plan study time into your busy schedule, you need to know about yourself, your strengths, weaknesses, your habits and preferences.
2. Make realistic study goals.
First, spend a bit of time to create study goals for the time all the way up to the exams.
Allocate the total time, over each week to ensure all subjects are thoroughly covered.
Unrealistic goals will not get you to exam success. SMART goals—goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound—are what will make it work.
3. Plan and strategize
Include your timelines. How many subjects are you studying? Some of them may require more time than others. Decide how much time you plan to allocate for studying each subject. And how much time you want to allocate for practice tests.
Don’t forget to schedule enough time for breaks.
Be realistic. You may need to spend more hours to certain subjects than others.
Stick to your plan.
3. Allocate sufficient time for past papers and practice exams.
Practice exams are extremely important for successfully passing CIMA exams.
Studying is committing things to memory. Recall, as you do so with practice exams, is an entirely different process. To do well in CIMA or any other professional exams, you need practice not just in committing things to memory, but also with recall.
Check out the practice exams available at the Practice Tests Academy. You can get instant access to FREE CIMA Demo Questions any OT professional CIMA exams by registering with Practice Tests Academy. Do it now.
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4. Your recall skills can be enhanced.
Aside from practice tests, there are other ways to enhance your memory and recall.
- Using multiple hooks during the study process which you can then use for effective recall.
- Making mind maps to summarize what you have studied is a great idea too. You can then hang to memory map on your wall to check it out at other times.
- We would like to recommend you read Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. You can learn quite a few tips and tricks supported by neuroscience and psychology for enhancing your powers of recall.
5. Create the best environment for study.
This depends on you of course, and where you live, and your family.
But good lighting, a relatively disturbance-free environment and times are best for anyone who is studying.
- Reduce interruptions. Some people are more prone to disturbances than others.
- Get everything you need in one place. That includes some water if you are thirsty and snacks if you need them.
- Sometimes your household or neighbourhood may be noisy at the times you study. Consider investing in noise cancelling earphones.
- Tell others you are studying at certain times so they know not to interrupt.
- Switch off your phone. Yes, that is possible and lots of people do it too, when they need to focus.
- Make sure to silence the system alerts and to activate privacy settings on your phone, social media and email to improve your chances of concentration and focus.
6. Quit multitasking.
Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. Ancient teachers like the Buddha and modern neuroscientists agree on this.
Are you used to listening to music while studying? Do you want the noise of the TV in the background? You are only making your brain less effective at learning, with these things.
Neuroscience shows that each time you look away, or think of something and try to get back your focus, you are wasting your brain capacity and time. Even though we are talking about milliseconds and microseconds here, these matter to your thought flow and focus.
7. Learn to focus.
The focus is a skill, not just a noun and a verb. This is one of the best skills any student or professional can learn to propel them towards success and excellence.
We recommend reading Focus, The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman.
Watch this video: Daniel Goleman speaking on Focus, the Hidden Driver of Excellence at Google.
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